Haruhiko Kuroda: 8th at 8

Haruhiko Kuroda, former president of the Asian Development Bank. Photo by: ADB / CC BY-NC

Today, Haruhiko Kuroda brings to a close an eight-year run as the eighth Asian Development Bank president. Let’s take a look at the reforms the bank saw under its former president.

When Haruhiko Kuroda took over as ADB president and board of directors chairperson in 2005, Asia was the underdog of the global economic area. Now, at 68, he leaves behind clear-cut reforms in a financial institution seen to have a pivotal role in amplifying the growth many Asian countries now enjoy:

  • ADB took on its long-term stategic framework Strategy 2020 which, according to ADB Principal Director for External Relations Ann Quon, “enabled ADB to push forward on mainstreaming climate change and strengthening support to countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations, among others.”

  • The bank tripled its operations from $7.4 billion in 2005 to $21.57 billion in 2012, showing the region’s surging need for development finance.

  • It also tripled its capital base from $55 billion to $165 billion, and reinforced the Asian Development Fund, ADB’s concessional lending window.

  • ADB became the first multilateral bank to apply a corporatewide results framework, called the ADB Scorecard, to measure performance and to boost accountability and transparency in its dealings.

  • The ADB-administered ASEAN Infrastructure Fund was formed. The target: to help stimulate infrastructure connectivity in Southeast Asia.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the ADB Curtis S. Chin told Devex that while Kuroda’s track record speaks for itself, where he “has perhaps been less successful is changing a mindset and management approach at the ADB, which too often places more emphasis on lending levels than on development impact and results.”

For his part, Kuroda said in a statement: “I am honored to have been entrusted with the leadership of this great organization, and I am proud of all we have accomplished together. Of course, much remains to be done in a region still faced with many challenges. I have every confidence in ADB’s continued success in addressing them.”

Kuroda holds a degree in law from the University of Tokyo and a Master of Philosophy in economics from the University of Oxford. Before becoming ADB’s top official, he was the special advisor to the Cabinet of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and a professor at the Graduate School of Economics at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, among others.

Kuroda is slated to assume leadership at the Bank of Japan.

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About the author

  • Johanna Morden

    Johanna Morden is a community development worker by training and a global development journalist by profession. As a former Devex staff writer based in Manila, she covered the Asian Development Bank as well as Asia-Pacific's aid community at large. Johanna has written for a variety of international publications, covering social issues, disasters, government, ICT, business, and the law.